h2>Jeffrey (research institute)

Background

Following my degree and doctorate in Chemistry I spent 18 months as a Research Assistant at the same University. However, I felt I needed to get more experience than I was getting in contract research work and I decided to make a change in my career. I let a number of people know that I was looking around and after only two weeks of looking, a personal contact told me of a job that was being advertised. I applied and was invited for an interview, which I found reasonably straightforward as it concentrated on what I could offer and bring to the company if I was offered the job. The position was in many ways a continuation of my previous work in contract research but without all the uncertainty that goes with it. Today I am a Research Scientist working on the development of novel CO2 gas sensors, a position that I thoroughly enjoy.

Transferable skills development

The main skills that I developed in contract research include:

  • IT Programming in VB with PC support and administration.
  • Research and analysis - Understanding and generating empirical, non-empirical, applied and pure research test methods.
  • Communication - oral and written - Adapting to the level of knowledge and understanding of others. Actively listening to encouraging involvement.
  • Problem solving - Analysing data to identify the real problem and making independent decisions whilst being sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Working environment - Categorising occupational risk banding into high, medium and low areas. Managing hazardous substances and following safe working procedures.
  • Teaching, coaching, training and development - Using a variety of teaching and learning activities and visual aids to motivate and influence others.

The key skills I will need to develop in my current role include:

  • Interpersonal - Managing people either directly or through others. Developing ideas or proposals of others into a cohesive plan. Liaising with other departments and external organisations.
  • Decision making - Taking calculated risks and knowing when an estimate or an exact decision will do.
  • Networking - Supporting existing groups and developing new partnerships. Actively networking people for mutual benefit or development.

Messages

I think it is important for you to maximise your chance of getting alternative employment by using every opportunity to develop your skills during your research work. Particularly, I would recommend getting involved in IT activities as part of your research work to develop these skills. Find out what is available outside contract research by searching the classified sections of the press, but also network all your contacts as someone could know of a vacancy which might suit you.

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